According to a new study issued by the Pew Research Center, the marriage rate hit a new low of only 50.3% in 2013. In comparison, the marriage rate was 72.2% in 1960. According to USA Today, this decline in marriage is having a negative effect on the economy. What I see as the root of the problem here is not that it is too expensive to get married, but that marriage is no longer as sacred.
If you look at the mainstream media, you see people who have been married three or four times, and it’s totally normal. If a celebrity gets married and decides three months later that “it just won’t work out,” then that is totally acceptable because “it’s tough in Hollywood.”
Many television shows depict couples living together to “test out their compatibility” before they get married. If you are already living with a person, splitting finances, and doing things that are usually thought to be done in the context of marriage, then what more is a piece of paper going to do? How will a document affect the outcomes of your future if you are already participating as a couple in the realms of the actions that occur in marriage?
Hollywood is helping greatly with portraying a perspective on marriage that says, marriage is about love. Marriage is a piece of paper that affirms that love. It doesn’t matter who you love because love is love.
Well, I beg to differ. The outlook that either a) marriage is just a piece of paper and/or b) marriage is solely about love, are not the perspectives I’ve grown up with.
Does getting married involve a piece of paper? Yes. Does marriage solely depend on that piece of paper for survival? No. The piece of paper is very important to be legally married. Couples need a marriage license to be married. However, after that piece of paper is signed, there is more to marriage than a document.
Marriage involves compromise and hard decisions. It involves setting a foundation and setting boundaries. It involves things greater than what was done in the relationship beforehand. The sacredness of marriage does not only deal with the definition of marriage itself, but the actions that are played out after the marriage is official.
Is marriage about love? Yes. Is it solely about love? No. The Bible tells us that we should love everyone, but we can’t marry everyone – that would be polygamy. Love is part of the bond that two people share which helps them grow closer to each other. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yourself. And love is something that is well explained in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Marriage is about what you do with that love. Marriage is about using the love that attracted the man and the woman to each other for a greater good. It’s about using that love to worship the Creator of this earth. Marriage is about a precious unity and sacred bond that is used to glorify God and grow closer to Him.
In order for us to have the sacredness of marriage be known, we must realign with the sole purpose of marriage. This is the purpose that has been outlined since the beginning of time. That purpose is for a man and a woman to unite in love for the purpose of glorifying the Lord in a path that leads to growing closer to Him.